December 20, 2023

Christmas collaborations: three evergreen ecosystem success stories

This post highlights Christmas partnerships that enhance customer experiences and address societal challenges.

Christmas collaborations: who's behind the holiday season?

The holiday season is more than just gifts and cheer - it's a busy time of unique collaborations in the business world. Imagine the unseen networks that bring holiday magic to your door, from the twinkling lights to the seasonal treats.

In this Christmas special, we delve into inspiring stories from business ecosystems, showcasing partnerships that bring joy, innovation and a touch of holiday spirit to our lives. From charity businesses to tech-enabled shopping experiences, these stories are not just about the bottom line, but about the power of collaboration.

Join us in uncovering the holiday season's unsung heroes and discovering how creativity and teamwork bring the most magical time of the year to life!

What you will learn reading this article:

  • How different entities within a business ecosystem, such as retailers, technology companies, and charities, can collaborate effectively. These collaborations show the interplay between Orchestrators, Realizers, and Enablers, and how they come together to create value.
  • Insights into how combining traditional business models with modern technology (like AR) can lead to innovative customer experiences. The use of personalization and tech in retail showcases how businesses can stay relevant and appealing to their customers.
  • Understanding how collaborations across different industries (e.g., retail and technology, or retail and charity) can lead to unique offerings and address complex challenges, demonstrating the potential of cross-industry partnerships in an ecosystem.
  • Insights into how business collaborations can extend beyond profit-making, addressing broader societal issues like food insecurity, and contributing to community well-being.
  • Learning how aligning the strengths and capabilities of different ecosystem players can create synergies, leading to outcomes that would be difficult to achieve by individual entities alone.

But what makes these partnerships so successful?

To understand this, we'll use the Ecosystem Strategy Map (ESM) for mapping each participants offering in each cooperation:

Ecosystem Strategy Map of christmas corporations

Heartwarming collaborations in retail

As the 2020 holiday season approached, Laithwaites, a popular wine retailer, teamed up with RevLifter, an innovator in personalized digital offers. This collaboration was more than a business transaction; it was a fusion of tradition and technology, with the goal of providing wine lovers with a more enjoyable and tailored shopping experience this holiday season.

At the heart of this collaboration lay their strategic focus on personalization. Laithwaites, with its long-standing tradition of providing high-quality wines, and RevLifter, with its innovative technology, formed a one-of-a-kind partnership. They implemented a system that tailored offers to customers according to their shopping habits. It wasn't just about acquiring customers; it was about comprehending, engaging, and delivering personalized value to them.

Laithwaites, operating primarily in the Consumption life area, took on the role of an Orchestrator within its ecosystem. They gathered various suppliers under their brand and curated a diverse range of wines. RevLifter in contrast played the role of an Enabler, providing the technological infrastructure and marketing solutions necessary for Laithwaites to thrive. Their services crossed the Life Areas of Consumption and Work, enabling businesses to improve their sales strategies and operational efficiencies. Their collaboration demonstrates a successful partnership between an Orchestrator and an Enabler, working in synergy to enhance the customer experience in the Life Area Consumption.

The results were truly impressive. The campaign led to a remarkable 55% increase in conversion rates, showcasing the effectiveness of targeted personalization in converting browsing into buying. Additionally, there was a significant 41% rise in average order value, indicating that customers were not only purchasing more but also opting for higher-value items. The partnership proved to be more than just a profitable venture for Laithwaites; it served as a brand builder. Through personalized experiences, they strengthened their image as a customer-centric brand and enhanced their reputation in the marketplace. RevLifter's technology is a valuable tool for creating mutually beneficial solutions that increase revenue for partners while providing customers with compelling reasons to spend.

Tech-enabled holiday experiences

The holiday season has seen impressive partnerships between tech companies and traditional businesses, leveraging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to create immersive and innovative holiday experiences. Snapchat, known for its innovative use of AR, has partnered with several traditional businesses to create unique and immersive Christmas experiences. These collaborations have led to remarkable tech-enabled services that have significantly boosted customer engagement and satisfaction during the holiday season. Let's delve into these exceptional partnerships and the innovative experiences they brought to life. 

In a 2019 collaboration, Toys "R" Us Canada partnered with Snapchat to form a digital gateway, which teleported users into a virtual rendition of their store. This augmented reality encounter enabled users to traverse the store, exposing them to the top holiday toys whilst amplifying the conventional shopping experience with interactive and captivating features.The partnership merged the Life Area Consumption with AR technology, transforming the traditional retail experience into an interactive exploration. Toys "R" Us Canada's role as Realizer was enhanced by Snapchat's role as an Enabler. The result was a delightful, immersive shopping journey for customers.

Another example is the collaboration between Snapchat and Gucci in 2019, which introduced a distinctive AR escape portal. The portal took users to a virtual beach environment decorated with Christmas elements. The experience featured interactive AR components, such as a sand snowman, a Christmas tree, and candy cane rain, all set in a Gucci-branded landscape. This pioneering approach not only enhanced the festive atmosphere but also flawlessly fused Gucci's products into the virtual encounter. In the case of this collaboration, Gucci acted as Realizer in the Life Area Consumption, leveraging Snapchat's AR capabilities to create a unique, festive brand experience. This collaboration exemplified how technology can elevate the luxury retail experience, blending the excitement of high fashion with the engagement of cutting-edge technology.

Furthermore, Snapchat partnered with The Old Vic Theatre in London to use Snapchat's AR capabilities to promote a Christmas Carol. By incorporating a face filter that transformed users into Mr. Scrooge from the play, the campaign blended theater charm with the interactive AR experience. This initiative successfully promoted the production and provided a fun, engaging way for users to connect with the classic Christmas story. Here the Old Vic Theatre, an Enabler in the Entertainment Life Area, used Snapchat's AR tools to extend the charm of the theater into the digital realm. This collaboration underscored how art and technology can synergize to enrich cultural experiences, making Snapchat an innovative Enabler in the Entertainment life area.

Joyful partnerships in giving

In the season of giving, the spirit of Christmas found a profound expression in the collaboration between Sainsbury's and FareShare. This partnership, reflecting the spirit of generosity and community support, unfolded as a beacon of hope and care for those in need. As the festive season approached, the retail giant Sainsbury's joined forces with FareShare, an organization dedicated to tackling food poverty. Their objective was to bring joy to millions experiencing hardship during the holiday season.

The initiative, fittingly called "Help Brighten a Million Christmases," was a testament to the power of collective effort. Sainsbury's and its customers came together in a remarkable show of solidarity, raising over £1.8 million for FareShare. This effort served as a symbol of more than just charity; it reflected a shared commitment to making a difference. Every donation, matched by Sainsbury's, converted into nutritious meals for vulnerable individuals and families. The impact was significant - the funds raised significantly strengthened FareShare's ability to feed those in need, reaching over 11,000 charities and community groups across the UK.

The collaboration between Sainsbury's and FareShare emerges as a powerful illustration of harmonized roles and impact across life areas. Sainsbury's, in its role as an Orchestrator within the ecosystem, masterfully leverages its extensive retail platform to mobilize resources and engage customers. This initiative is firmly rooted in the Life Area Consumption, with roots extending into the Life Area Socialize through community engagement, and the Life Area Health through addressing food insecurity. On the other hand, FareShare, embodying the role of Realizer, efficiently channels the resources raised into tangible community support, primarily impacting the Health life area by addressing food poverty, and extending its impact into the Socialize and Live areas, thereby strengthening community resilience and improving livelihoods.

The achievement of this collaboration was not only evaluated in terms of raised funds but also through the countless smiles it brought to people's faces. For Sainsbury's, this was an opportunity to strengthen its position as a socially responsible company, fostering deeper ties with the community and enhancing its brand reputation. For FareShare, the support meant scaling up its vital work at a time of increased need, ensuring that no one faced the harsh winter and festive season without having enough to eat. The initiative demonstrated the significant effect of empathy and action, portraying the accomplishments of businesses and individuals when they come together for a common goal. It was a heartening tale of hope, warmth, and joy - embodying the true spirit of Christmas.

This dynamic alliance between Sainsbury's and FareShare optimizes strengths for the benefit of the community. Sainsbury's mobilizes resources through the FareShare network to address immediate needs and promote long-term community well-being. The collaboration demonstrates how different roles in the ecosystem can come together for impactful solutions, particularly in addressing societal challenges such as food insecurity. It serves as a beacon for more resilient and empathetic business practices that emphasize collective responsibility and care.

Essential key learnings from the businesses ecosystem approach in the christmas context:

  • Strategic synergy: the collaboration between different businesses, like Laithwaites and RevLifter, highlights the effectiveness of merging distinct strengths, such as tradition with technology, to enhance customer experiences and improve business outcomes.
  • Innovative technology integration: partnerships between tech companies and traditional businesses, exemplified by Snapchat's collaborations, demonstrate how incorporating cutting-edge technology like augmented reality can transform and enrich the consumer experience.
  • Community engagement and social responsibility: initiatives like Sainsbury's and FareShare's collaboration illustrate the impactful role businesses can play in addressing community needs and social issues, emphasizing the importance of corporate responsibility and community-centric efforts.

The examples illustrate that business ecosystems, when adeptly designed to offer integrated experiences, can generate exceptional value, even within the festive context of Christmas. 

We wish you a delightful Advent and Christmas season!
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